"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

November 29, 2011

So Thankful....for His hands

I always remember a lesson one of my institute teachers taught me a long time ago, before I left on my mission.  He told us a story of a huge storm that hit a small town....it was a really bad storm with lots and lots of rain, wind and flooding.  The streets were covered with water and it kept getting higher and higher.  There was an evacuation notice sent out long before the storm got too severe, but there was this one certain man who didn't listen to the evacuation warnings....he believed in God, and he believed that God would save him.  As the storm got worse and worse and the water rose higher and higher.....he was more in danger of drowning.  He climbed out his window onto the roof of his house to escape the water below.  He sat on his roof as the water rose higher and the current got stronger....and he kept saying that he wasn't scared because he knew that God would save him.  He watched as the force of the water carried cars and trucks down the road, but he still wasn't scared.  A man in a boat came by his house and asked him to get in.  The man refused and said "no, it's ok, God's gonna save me"....the man in the boat begged him to get in, but he wouldn't....so he left without him.  A little while later, a helicopter came to try and rescue him...the man said the same thing "it's ok, God's gonna save me"  the helicopter operator pleaded with him to please get in or he would die, because he could see the water was getting higher and higher.  The man refused to get in the helicopter, he had so much faith and he knew that God would save him.  The helicopter took off and the man was still on the roof of his house....the water got higher and higher and the force of the current stronger and stronger.  The water eventually covered the roof of his house, and the man drowned and died.

When he got to heaven he asked God "why didn't you save me?  I believed and had so much faith in you...why didn't you save me?"

God responded "I sent you a boat to save you, you didn't want that....I sent you a helicopter to save you, you didn't want that either.....what did you expect?  Did you think I was going to reach my hand down and pick you off that roof myself to save you?"

The man was silent.

The moral of the story was that God, in so many ways uses other people and things to help "save us" and  help us through our difficult times.  We need to have faith in him, but we need to see his hand through the help of other people.  He purposefully places people in our lives at certain times and for certain reasons....and it's just as if He was reaching down himself to help us.

I've thought a lot about this story lately....and have noticed how many times I've seen His hand through other people during this whole ordeal we've been faced with.  With it being Thanksgiving...and a time to reflect on all that we have and all we're grateful for.....I'm constantly reminded of these people.

I got a call from Sister Choke, the relief society president of the palangi ward in our neighborhood.  They had heard about everything that happened with me, losing baby Cindy....having baby Katea so early and that she'll be in the hospital until January.  As soon as she heard about it, she came knocking on my door.  She wanted to see if there was anything I needed, or anything she or the relief society sisters could do to help me out.  She came not to long after Katea was born, when I was still an emotional wreck everyday....and her kindness made my emotions flare even more.  I was so touched that they would think of me, especially since we're not in their ward.  She asked me if it would be ok for them to bring us dinner for a week.  I thanked her so much for the offer, but told her it was ok because we're not even in her ward...we go to the Tongan ward.  She simply said that it didn't matter what ward we attended, we are all sisters in the gospel and we're in the neighborhood...and they wanted to help us however they could.  I cried and thanked her over and over again.  When she got up to leave she gave me the biggest hug and told me that everything would be ok and then she asked me how to spell Katea's name.  She told me she had gone to the temple the night before and put her name in, but that she totally spelled her name wrong....she giggled and said "I hope He knows who I was talking about" and I said "I'm sure He did"....she wanted the correct spelling so that she could put her name in again when she went back in a couple days.  She left that night and I sat and cried.....for a long time.  That whole week the ward members brought food for our family.....they went all out and brought full 4 course meals every single day.  I really don't think they understand how much those meals helped me.  I'm so extremely grateful for them!  After the week passed, Sister Choke came by again to visit.  She asked me again how I was doing and if I needed anything.  She asked me if I wanted them to bring more meals.  I thanked her and told her that it was ok.  What they'd done for me was so much already and I really appreciated it.  She told me she'd keep in touch and that if I needed anything, not to hesitate....but to let her know.  I gave her a big hug as she left......so so thankful for her and the relief society and the whole ward for everything they had done for my little family...especially since they didn't have to.  The Bishop of the palangi ward stopped by my house a couple times too...just to see how I was doing, to check up on baby Katea and see how she was doing.  He offered a prayer in my home and blessed my whole family and baby Katea with comfort.  I am so grateful for them.  To be honest, I was feeling a little down.....I'd had probably the most difficult time in my life the past few months, both emotionally and physically....and I broke down to Ova one night about how I didn't feel like my ward even cared about me at all.  I know they don't have to do anything, but I just always thought that's what the relief society was for....to help sister's that are in need.  Never once did they visit or even call....not when I was in the hospital for a month, not when my baby Cindy died....and not since baby Katea's been born.  I'm really more hurt and sad about it than anything....just feeling like I they don't care and I'm not important.  Just a couple days after having that conversation with Ova....Sister Choke showed up on my doorstep.  If that was not a direct answer straight from Heavenly Father to my prayer and need to be loved....I don't know what is.  As if everything they'd already done wasn't enough, I was visiting baby Katea the night before Halloween and I got a phone call from Sister Choke.  She was just calling to check on me and to see how baby Katea was doing.  She's so sweet and truly a woman of God.  She told me that she had met with her presidency and their ward compassion leader and they decided that they wanted to make my family dinner twice a week, every week until baby Katea came home.  I couldn't even say anything....I just started crying.  She was calling to ask me which days worked best for us, and they would bring dinner the same two days every week.  I thanked her so much and told her that she really didn't have to do that.....it was way too much, and plus baby Katea wouldn't even come home until January....and that's a long time!  She just told me she knew, they'd talked about that when they met and that they really wanted to do this.  Her exact words to me were: (and I'll never forget them) "Monica, this is one of those things where the giver gets the joy....so please don't take that away from us"  I almost couldn't talk because I was so emotional.  Just overwhelmed with gratitude for her and her ward....who showed that they loved me and my little family, even though they didn't know me.  We decided that Monday and Tuesdays would be the best days....and starting that week....every single Monday and Tuesday....a different member of their ward has brought us dinner.  I am so overwhelmed and grateful for them.

Another person I'm so grateful for....is my husband Ova.  I honestly thank my Heavenly Father everyday for him.  I feel like I'm so lucky and blessed to be with him for eternity....cause I don't know who else would be able to put up with such a clingy wife...haha.  He's always there when I need him, and he's really the only person I want.  I put a lot of pressure on him.....when I'm sad, he's the only one I want to make me happy.....when I'm having a bad day, he's the one I want to cheer me up......when someone is mean to me or hurts my feelings, he's the one that hugs me and makes me feel better...and gets mad at whoever hurt me..haha.  He knows I'm the biggest crybaby, and he's ok with it.  He lets me cry when I need to, and he makes fun of me sometimes when I cry to lighten the mood.  He just knows me and exactly what I need, when I need it.  When I got admitted to the hospital, he took two months off work just to be with me.  He never left my side throughout everything that happened, he was always there...literally, like right next to me.  He cried with me, lifted me up when I was down, made me laugh when I was having a bad day.....and was just there all the time when I needed him most.  There was a million other things he could have been doing, but he chose to be with me....and I'm so grateful for him!  If I could have it my way, we'd be together 24-7....but I think he cherishes his time away from me so he can breathe...haha. j/k

Ova's work is another one I'm extremely grateful for.  Honestly, it's a huge blessing that he was even able to get that job so quickly...when so many other people have been applying and have been waiting for months and months to even get an interview.  I don't know of any other job that would do for anyone what they have done for us.  He works for US Synthetic and he started back in July....the way their company works is that they don't hire anyone directly, everyone has to go through SOS Staffing and work as a temp for 90 days...and if they like how you work, after the 90 days they'll hire you on permanantly.  Since he started in July, his 90 day probation would have went until October.....he was honest and open with them about our situation, and they did everything they could to work with him.  Seriously, I'm overwhelmed at what they did for us.  When we found out that baby Cindy died, they sent me flowers and gave Ova some time off work.  All the many times I was rushed to the emergency room while I was pregnant, he just had to call and let them know what was going on and they would either let him stay home or come in late.  When I got admitted to the hospital, I was sure he was going to lose his job.....but they gave him time off....and they told him not to worry about his job, to take as much time as he needed and to let them know when he was ready to come back.  Ova took almost two months off.....all of September to be with me in the hospital, and most of October to be with me and baby Katea.  He called them towards the end of October and told them he was ready to go back, and they started him the next day.  He was a temp...not even a permanent employee, and they still did all that for him.  I am forever grateful for that company for allowing my husband to be with me when I needed him the most, and for making sure he still had a job.

I can't say enough about the staff at the IMC NICU.  I'm seriously forever indebted to them for everything they're doing for my little miracle.  We have our primary nurses (nurses that we chose, who specifically take care of Katea when they're there.....just to provide more consistant care) and I just love each of them so much.  Anjanette, Meredith, Annica, Charise and Stacey.....they are my baby's 2nd mom when I'm not there.  I try to be at the NICU as often as I can...but when I'm not able to be there, I know she's being well taken care of.  All the NNP's the RT's the Neonatalogists......everyone has such a huge part of baby Katea's progress and I'm so grateful for them.  They have a group at the NICU called Common Bonds, it's a group of mom's who have been in my situation...with preemies...who have taken time out of their lives to come back to the NICU to help us new and inexperienced NICU moms cope.  They're positive attitudes and outlooks have helped me so many times.  They hold classes on different things we might need to know, they take pictures of our babies and scrapbook them for us...I have a special page for Halloween, her 1 month, Thanksgiving, her first bath, when she hit 4 pounds....and I'm sure I'll get a lot more.  I appreciate so much all they do for me in making my stay at the NICU a little more bearable!  It's crazy because as much as I can't wait to be able to take my baby Katea home....I'm honestly going to miss all the friends I've made at the NICU.  They are amazing, miracle workers and like I said before...I'm forever endebted to them for everything they've done for me and my baby Katea!

I'm grateful for my kids...every single one of them....Makai, Filimone and Lautala.  I'm grateful for their understanding throughout this whole situation.  To be honest, I had a really rough time at first worrying and stressing about how I'm going to be able to divide my time between everything I had to do...but my kids, being so understanding has helped ease my stress level.  I was worried that they would get mad or resent me for needing to spend so much time away from home, at the hospital...but they don't, and I'm grateful for that.  They know and understand that I love them so much, but that their baby sister really needs me right now.  So I think I've finally figured out how to juggle things to make them work.  I wake up when Makai gets up to get ready for school....I make breakfast for Mone and Lautala and I spend the morning with them...we eat lunch together and play and watch tv....then I pick up Makai from school and then I head to the hospital....I'm at the hospital from about 4-9pm and then I come home and read or do homework with Makai.  We usually end up falling asleep all together on my bed, watching movies at around midnight.  That's super late, I know...but we're just a night owl kinda family!  I feel good about this schedule and it's working for us right now.  It'll be nice when baby Katea gets to come home, cause then I'll get to spend a lot of time with all my kids at once!

I'm so extremely grateful for my baby Katea.  She amazes me every single day.  The fight she has and the progress she's made is unbelieveable.  I guess you never really realize until it happens to you, or someone you know.....I will admit that I was so naieve before this whole experience.  I didn't know that NICU exsisted....I didn't know that a baby could be born so early....weighing only 1 pound and survive and be okay.  I'm so grateful for medical technology and for how much can be done to save baby's that were born too soon.  I still sit and think sometimes about how much we're forcing baby Katea to do.....we're forcing her to breathe, when she shouldn't have to yet....we're forcing her to keep her temperature, when she shouldn't have to yet....we're forcing her to grow....and pretty soon we're going to be forcing her to learn to eat....suck,swallow and breathe all at the same time....when she shouldn't have to yet.  All those things amaze me because she's doing them.  All those things that she shouldn't even be doing yet, she's doing.....and she's amazing!

I'm thankful for my mom for always calling to check on me and for always coming to visit baby Katea.  I'm grateful for my little sister Marie for taking time to come every week, a few times a week since I was admitted and since baby was born to come to the hospital to visit me and baby....I'm grateful for Tea for always being there for my kids, for watching them and taking care of them when I'm not at home...she does so much for me and I'm so grateful!  I'm grateful for everyone who has reached out to me....it's funny when you're faced with situations like this, you learn who really cares.  I'm grateful for good friends who have constantly been there for me and lifted me up....Dianna, Kassie...my blogging buddies.....other NICU moms....and so many more. 

Even through it all, I know I am blessed.....and I am so thankful for His hands!



This whole blog had me in tears!! Your relief society sisters are amazing, and so wonderful. I think you guys should move to their ward! lmbo!! hehe His hands are everywhere, I'm so blessed to have you as a friend...especially when I needed, and didn't know I did, u popped into my life and I'm grateful the Lord brought our typing hands together :) Love you Monica!!!

Kassie said...

I'm with Anna.. I'm in tears too. I'm sorry we haven't done more for your family, you are an amazing friend and deserve all the goodness in the world. LOVE YOU